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Vintage KSDK: A look back at Shakespeare in the Park

We dug into the archives going back 21 years, as live theatre played to huge crowds in Forest Park. No gates, no tickets, and many people bring a picnic.

ST. LOUIS — This week's Vintage KSDK takes us back to June 2001, the month of the very first Shakespeare in the Park in Forest Park.

It’s live theatre in Forest Park. No gates, no tickets, and many people bring a picnic.

Presented by the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, the annual production brings free, live performances of Shakespeare classics to an outdoor stage.

The very first production 21 years ago was Romeo and Juliet.

We also found video from 2011 when The Taming of the Shrew was staged, And in 2015 when  Antony and Cleopatra played out under the lights in Forest Park.

And because it's live theatre, anything can happen, as described by one of the actors.

“So, there's a running joke of how many bugs we ate during the play but I mean, that's what's exciting you're getting things you don't normally expect from being in a theater, the sunlight, the bugs, the heat."

Since its first year, Shakespeare in the Park has grown into a year-round institution, putting on more than 250 performances in our area annually.

But it's the group's summer work done in the middle of grassy fields that draw huge audiences in long twilight evenings every June.

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